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Amanda Reads: Issue 42
Your reading recommendations and tarot reading for the week of 5/15/23
Hello and welcome to Issue 42, aka the issue that is the answer to life, the universe, and everything. Pretty sure you’re just not allowed to be a book nerd and avoid making that joke any time the number 42 comes up.
Anyway, I’ve been spending a lot more time with my two loves, reading and playing Skyrim, the past few weeks, and it’s been lovely. I also got a very kind personalized rejection on an essay I’ve been trying to place in a literary magazine for, oh… 4 years? I wrote it after my first hiking trip post-diagnosis for my chroic pain disorder, and I remain convinced it’s one of the best things I’ve ever written. Lit mags seem to agree, because nearly every rejection I’ve gotten on it in the last couple of years has been a personalized one, assuring me I was this close to being published, but that they ultimately passed.
Personalized rejections like this are one of the strangest things about trying to get your work in the world, at least to me. On the one had, it is nice to know that you were close, that your work struck a chord. On the other hand, it leaves me wanting feedback. Why was it close, but not quite it? I will continue to send this one out because I truly believe it belongs in a lit mag someplace, but man is it weird to have a little essay collect so many “close, but not quite” letters.
Well, that was a bit of a ramble! I know many of my subscribers are fellow writers, though, so I’m hoping it might be of interest and will leave it in. But for those of you who are just here for books recs and tarot, let’s get to it!
Book Rec of the Week
I’ve read a few good books recently and am a bit torn on what to recommend. Ultimately, though, I’m going with You Just Need to Lose Weight: And 19 Other Myths About Fat People by Maintenance Phase co-host Aubrey Gordon. I listened to this on audio (yes, Aubrey reads it this time!) and thoroughly appreciated the depth of research and the way that Gordon weaves her own experience into each section to give that research emotional heft.
For me, a good bit of the information was familiar since I’ve been listening to her podcast and reading about this topic for a while now. Still, I came away thinking that this is a massively important book for folks to read to understand the lived experience of fat people and how weight stigma permeates so many aspects of daily life.
I often refer to myself as fat, having a BMI that places me in the “overweight” category, but I admit this book has me rethinking that self-defintion. After all, I still fit into straight sizes and airplane seats and don’t come up against so much of the discrimination this book explores. Wherever you fall on the spectrum of weight, this book is a crucial one for un-learning our biased attitudes about fat people and the way they navigate a world that often doesn’t have enough space for them, by design.
Tarot Reading of the Week
Deck Used: Skyrim Tarot
Card of the Week: VII of Spells
This card suggests that a challenge or competition may be on the horizon this week. Whether it’s an unexpected confrontation or the choice between chores and video games, be ready for a metaphorical battle this week. Keep your tools handy and try to keep a level head if you do find yourself at odds with someone (or yourself). Remember that not all conflicts have to end badly and they can be an opportunity for growth.
Words from the Web
Fully confess I haven’t been doing as much reading online as I could this past week, and I don’t have any recs from others to share this week. I know I read some good stuff, but alas, I didn’t bookmark anything.
As for me, I’ve got a bit of an “unpacking resistance” theme going on in my writing lately. In response to the “Being You” prompt from Age of Empathy, I tell the story of labels for chronic illness and why I’ve struggled to apply any of them to myself.
That’s all for this week, my friends! I hope your week is off to a good start and that the VII of Spells doesn’t mean too much conflict ahead.